Monday, July 16, 2018

Transfer 1, Week 5: Working at the carnival

Hey Everyone,
            Can you believe it's already been 5 weeks since I left the MTC? Wow, already almost 1 transfer down. Things are going great so far. Well, let's jump right in. 
          Early in the week we went on exchanges again, this time with the River's Edge elders. I came back to Fairfield with Elder Walker, while Elder Ritchie went to Great Falls with Elder Escobar. It was a pretty good exchange, we weren't entirely sure what we were going to do, not to mention this was my first tme fully in charge of everything. So it was a little slow at first, but I got the hang of it. One of the cool moments while on the exchange, was that we were invited to a Relief Society dinner. Wasn't expecting that, but it was great food, and a great program and night. 
       We had interviews with President Larsen on Wednesday. We were kind of rushed, because we had to get there, in Great Falls, by 8 am. That seemed kind of early, but it was alright. It was great to meet him in person. We had talked a lot about my experiences, who each of us are, and what to expect. One of the things we focused on a lot was my medical condition of cerebral palsy, and he was concerned that I'm not overdoing it. I'm not right now, but I'm supposed to keep him frequently updated on how the condition of my body. One really neat thing that happened was that President Larsen thinks we are related. He says he is related to a lot of Sherwoods down in Arizona. I know we have a couple families down there, any ideas who it could be? I'd love to know. 
       One cool thing that happened was that Elder Ritchie and I were allowed to go to lunch with Elder Ritchie's uncle who was passing through Great Falls. That was kind of cool. But sadly, don't expect that same opportunity to happen every time. I can't guarantee that we'll be allowed to visit. But we were this time. 
     Then later that day, we got lost going to dinner, it was kind of funny but also really embarrassing. 
     Thursday was both Elder Ritchie's birthday and the start to Indian Days up in Browning. It was pretty good. We got up in Browning at 8 am. It is a 1.5 hour drive, so yeah we had to get up pretty early. But it was fun, we got to walk around the carnival, handing out copies of the Book of Mormon, got to learn about the history of the people, and operate our little LDS booth. We also met a few drunk people, but that's not too important.
      We had Elder Ritchie's birthday dinner at the Phinney's. Lasagna, chocolate cake, and peppermint ice cream. Yum. 
       Nothing really exciting happened on Friday the 13th. We had a lesson with John, and met one of our referrals, Joyce. But that was about it. Probably not horrible seeing how it was supposed to be a bad day? Weird Friday the 13th stuff.
       Funny story, well at least for you. It's a Saturday afternoon. We have absolutely no idea where to go, because no one was answering. So we made the bad decision to bike 10 miles out to a members house to visit them. Yep 10 miles on a bike. Meaning a 20 mile round trip. Doesn't seem to bad, except that 16 of those 20 were DIRT roads. Ouch we ended up being on bike for 3-4 hours, and we only visited 1 person for about 15 mins. Yikes. That was really rough. 
But that was just about it for the week. I love hearing from everyone. And I can't wait to see what happens next in your adventures. 
         Quick spiritual thought to wrap this all up. I finished my Book of Mormon study on Faith the same day I got my new journal, thanks mom. But that day, I was in Moroni chapters 7 - 10. Both in Mormon's letters, and Moroni himself talk a lot about Faith, hope, and charity. I found it quite interesting how the cycle of those three principles works. To have Faith, you must have hope. Having that hope, builds your Faith. When your Faith increases, you become more charitable to others, and you gain more hope in Christ. Not only can I see evidences of this cycle every day in the mission, but I find it cool that each of these principles are Christine attributes from chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel. As we do our best to build these three principles in our own lives, we can come to know Christ better, and be better examples of him. 
         Well, I can't wait to hear from you all. And we'll see what happens next week when we get news on transfers. 
Elder Sherwood

Pictures... not many. I guess I need to step up my game.

The tent at Indian Days. I had no idea Elder Ritchie took this picture. I'm the Elder that is half in the picture.
Tent at Indian Days
Random selfie
From Elder Ritchie's Facebook post about reading the scriptures.
From Elder Ritchie's Facebook post about reading the scriptures.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Transfer 1, Week 4: The New Mission President

Hey Everyone,

This week has been great. Lots of fun surprises, and new things to talk about. My mind is staring to blend days together, so bear with me. So let's jump right into our highlight reel. 

On preparation day, we did a whole lot of nothing. Just kidding, after the emails were sent, we went and did normal preparation day things. While we were shopping, we wanted a couple games to play, so I bought a monopoly game. We played it, found it fun, but has kind of a weird ending. Other than that preparation day went pretty normally until the evening. The Swenson's came over and cut our lawn. That was pretty awesome. I wish I had pictures.  But to give a description of the way it looked, we called it our "Grass Forrest". We had wanted to get it cut for a while, but all 3 of the lawn mowers on the property are broken.😭 But it now looks like we have a grass lawn again.

Tuesday honestly sucked mostly because of my attitude. We were a little high on miles at that point, so we cradled out the bikes. There were two issues that made it suck. 1. I had not hidden a bike for about 3-4 YEARS. Ouch. I was so sore and raw afterwards. 2. The bike I have, I got from a recently returned elder. Turns out, he was like 6ft 4in, or taller. The bike was/is way too big. We have lowered the seat as much as possible, making it bearable. But it still isn't all together a great experience. But it works. It was also my sister's birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIANNE. 

The 4th of July was probably more like a preparation day than preparation day was. We were busy, but never had the chance to proselyte. We were invited by a ward family to see the show-doe  sorry for incorrect spelling, parade. It was a cute little parade. I don't think I had ever seen so many old cars in one place. It was pretty sweet. Of course I was expecting this though, a huge tractor. It was taller than the buildings, and as wide as the whole road. The rest of the day was pretty low-key. We studied, had meals, and spent some time napping because Elder Ritchie wasn't feeling too good. We got to go to kind of a bbq for dinner with our ward mission leader. That was fun. 

Thursday, we were on bikes again. Yuck. We rode 14 miles. It hurt. We met with John, had a good discussion with him. We are still struggling with his smoking. I need to find some way to get him out and about, so he doesn't have to sit in his apartment and smoke all day long. Any ideas? The Cut Bank elders arrived that night in preparation for our fun adventures the following day. 

Friday was the day we finally net with our new mission President. Their names are President and Sister Larson. They lived in Chandler Arizona, and were super excited to come here. I feel kind of bad for their 15 year old son, Elijah, who got the privilege of tagging along. He got to move as a sophomore in high school. And he doesn't get to get the full attention of his parents over the next three years, poor guy. But on a good note, he just met all 200 of his new brothers and sisters. So, win win?

Something new happened that day. I went on my first ever exchange. I went to Great Falls for the night with Elder Madsen. It was quite the adventure. We did missionary game night, and I learned a lot from him on how to be a better companion. 

Saturday was also kind of weird. We woke up, started to get ready for our service appointment at 9 am, when we got a call from someone in Missoula, giving us a referral, but he took around 30 minutes to do so. So, yeah we ended up being late to our appointment. We got to help the Sunriver Methodist church again. We spent almost 5 hours tearing carpet, removing drywall + insulation, and scraping old tile off the floor. It was definitely hard work, but it was totally worth it to see how much it help those poor people recover from the flood. 

Elder Ritchie, being the great guy he is, left the keys at the apartment, when we quickly went home, in the zone leaders car, to change. That was quite an adventure, trying to find a way to make the trip back and forth.  

Well, that's about it for the highlight reel. We had a good week. I hope yours has been as well. Let me know about anything cool that happens ok?

Spiritual thought of the week. I was reading in 3rd Nephi chapter 18 during my study this week, and this verse, kind of stuck out to me. It says, 

"Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed."  

It reminded me of the Mormon message about letting our light shine. I know that as we shine our lights, which light comes from Faith in Christ, others can see and come to understand the importance of Him to us, and how we feel we can come closer to Him. 

Well, anyway I love and miss you all, and can't wait to hear from you soon.

Elder Sherwood

Elder Sherwood with President and Sister Larson
Great Falls Zone Conference - July 2018
Elder Wright's ties! I've never seen so many different ties at once. Crazy!
Elder Ritchie's 4th of July scripture, just in case you missed it on Facebook.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Transfer 1, Week 3: Past Week's Aftermath

Hey Everyone, 
     Happy early 4th of July. I can't believe it's already July. It has been a pretty long few days out here in Montana, but surprisingly a pretty short week. I guess the saying is true that the days will feel like weeks, and the weeks will feel like days. Crazy, huh?!😎
     A lot of this past week involved service. We went down to Augusta a couple more times this week to help clean-up the areas affected by the flood. We got the opportunity to be a part of the "Mormon Helping Hands". Its a church services service run by local ward/branch leaders where it is needed. We got to wear the yellow vests, and everything. The missionaries, half our zone went, spent most of the time moving sandbags. Either moving them from one spot to another house, or dumping them out where nobody will care about the extra sand. It was pretty tiring. Sandbags are supposed to weigh about 50lbs when dry. But when they are wet, they feel a lot worse, more like 75-80lbs. This doesn't  seem all that bad, until you have moved about 300 of them from around a house. Ouch, that really hurt the back and arms afterwards. But hey, no need for a gym, when I can just move sandbags for exercise right? 
     Funny, but scary story. So we put these 300 sandbags onto this really heavy duty truck. These sandbags weighed about a total of 15,000 lbs, and the truck could have carried more. But anyway, we take them over to the Ford's house, and begin cutting them open, dumping them out, and raking them level on their driveway. One of the Elders, Elder Black was opening the bags. They had some pretty sharp knives to open the bags. So here is Elder Black opening a bag, when Elder Madsen tosses another bag near him to be opened next. The thrown bag slides a little, and hits the arm of Elder Black that is holding the knife, and zip, the knife slips out of the bag, and right into Elder Blacks arm. It was pretty narly, but at the same time not a single tear was shed. Instead, we all, including Elder Black start laughing, and wanting good pictures. It was really hilarious.
     We had a couple visits with one of our new investigators this week. His name is Jerry. We met him by tracting last Sunday night (June 24th). I don't know if I talked about him last week or not. We taught him the restoration and the plan of salvation. He seems pretty golden. Other than the Book of Mormon, he knows and believes all the material. We were talking about the plan of salvation yesterday, and he said," sometimes I look up at the stars and wonder where do I come from and why am I here". The only thing keeping him from getting baptized is that he wants to know more before he makes that choice, which is understandable. The only sad thing here, is that he is going to North Dakota for a few weeks, so we won't be able to meet with him again until the 18th of July. 😢. So we helped him get a audio version of the Book of Mormon for him to listen to while he is driving.  
     We also met with John again. The word of wisdom is still a struggle there, but I think we are getting a little closer. President Swenson, our stake president wanted to tag along yesterday ended up being a great help to our lesson with him. He opened up like he never had before. It was great. 
     One night this week, for dinner, we got to eat a pig. Now, I know that doesn't so exciting, let me rephrase it a little bit. This week, we got the opportunity to eat a pig's face, minus the skin. It was interesting, but really great.
     The last few days have not been fun around 7:30 pm. Our plans fell through, and we scrambled to find something to do for a while. It kind of sucked. But it was ok. 
     I've heard stories that there have been a few fires in Utah this past week. This doesn't surprise me seeing how dry the winter was. I hope everyone is ok and that none had been in a need to be relocated recently.
     This past week, I've been studying a lot in the latter part of the Book of Alma. A.k.a the war chapters. It has really impressed on my mind the importance of building our own spiritual defenses in our places of security. In this day and age, it is becoming all the more prevalent to always make sure we put on the armor of God. Every piece to it's fullest. And that we build defenses around our safe places, that way we, and those we love, can be protected from the "lamanite" attacks that will come upon us. But I know and strongly believe that if we are strong in our Faith and put on the whole armor of God, we can be protected from their attacks.

I love and miss all of you. I hope everyone has a great 4th of July. 

Elder Sherwood

Now Pictures:
Elder Ritchie touched this hot light bulb with wet fingers. Awesome!
We got a lot of these recently.
Elders cleaning up debris
Cleaning up debris
Elder Madsen wanted to feel like a king as we moved this trough

All the elders that came out to help with the flood
Our sandbag mountain - all 300 of them!
Elder Black's bloody arm

The pig
Selfie with the pig
Elder Ritchie's note to the crew at lunch
Star Wars Monopoly
I had to sew a tie. It was falling apart.
The happy burger

Monday, June 25, 2018

Transfer 1, Week 2: The Service Flood

Elder Ritchie and I in front of a 1917 ford, built in Canada 
Hey everyone,
It's has been a really crazy week. It felt as if it would never end, but here we are. 
The whole week seemed to be just one thing after another. We were up in Missoula for zone conference, when we missed a few calls from people in our area. (The phone was on silent, since we were in meetings.) Apparently, there was a massive flood happening over in our area of the Great Falls Stake. The towns that were being affected were Augusta, Simms, Vaughn, Sunriver, and a tiny bit of Fairfield. This was quite alarming to us, who were 2.5 hours away at the time. Assessing the situation, we decided to leave the conference early, and go help with the flood as much as we could.
We were about 1/2 way back before the highway was closed off because if the flooding, so we turned, and went almost all the way down to Helena, and took I-15 back up to Great Falls. That supposed to be 2.5 hour drive turned into almost a 5 hour drive because if that detour.😥 that was a long time to be stuck in a tiny Tacoma with 4 other elders. We took Elder Ritchie, me, Elder Walker, Elder Ferarra, and Elder Wilcox. Because we could only fit 5 people in the car, Elder Hallett decided to stay behind. It was a really long drive. 
When we finally got there, we went to work finding some way around the road closed signs, so we could help do some sandbagging. That was a lot of fun. We were there till almost 9pm, so we made arrangements for Elder Hallet to stay in Great Falls, and we went to home, and the other Elders stayed at our place that night. It became an adventure to get him back, but we did.  
On Wednesday, we had plans to go get more sandbags done, but we got a call that a lady had her basement flood in the street over from ours. So we spent the greater part of the afternoon cleaning it out. 
The rest of the week, we spent in Augusta cleaning up after the flood. We met some great people in doing so. It was a pretty tiring week. 
One the coolest moments was on our way to Augusta on Thursday. We stopped by the Hank's place to see what we could do, and we got to see a 1917 ford car that was built in Canada. Br. Hank was replacing the radiator, but he said that it was still in working condition, and that it cruises nicely around 30 mph. That was awesome to see such an antique car.
I was so glad when Sunday came around. We got to go to ward council in Sunriver, and spent a bit of time studying. We went tracting and found 2 new investigators. Overall, it was a great week. 
I have been thinking a lot lately about how the Book of Mormon can teach us about any principle we want to understand more fully. I am doing the same challenge I gave to you all a couple weeks ago, (to read the Book of Mormon, with a principle in mind, marking every instance of that principle,and writing the thoughts of your heart every time you finish for the day. ) and I know that it has brought a lot better understanding Faith, the principle I chose, to me. And I know it can for you as well. And I promise that when you do so, you can/will see little miracles in your understanding, and will have a more full knowledge and faith on that principle. 
Though this week has been crazy, I love it, and I hear that it doesn't get much calmer for a while. 

Now, pictures:

Sister Schmidt's house cleanup
Sister Schmidt's house cleanup
Sister Schmidt's house cleanup
Going to sandbag
Us sandbagging, there was not a single picture where we were all looking
Look at the flood
Elder Ritchie and me
Road trip to Missoula
Road trip to Missoula

Monday, June 18, 2018

Transfer 1: Week 1: The First Seven Days

Wow, has it already been almost a week since my last email. Crazy how quickly time flies by when your on a mission. Well. Better get started.
        To start, I'm a little upset with the fact that I am actually writting this email now for the second time because I lost my first draft. Agh.😲
         It has been a pretty crazy week. It all started with us leaving the mtc last Tuesday. There were 13 of us going to Montana in our little travel group. It was good. From the moment we left the MTC, there were two feeling most of us expressed. Sadness to leave, because we enjoyed the mtc. There was also a feeling of us breaking free from a prison, because we had gotten out into the real world. 
        Our trip to Montana had several points to it. First, we rode a bus to the front runner station, where we boarded the train, and traveled all the way to the north temple stop. We were then to transfer to the trax, and ride that all the way to the airport, where we rode a plane for a good hour to Billings. 
          Funny story about the whole expedition, we were told by our bus driver that at the switch between north temple and the trax, we are going to have to get up a double flight of stairs. There was an elevator, but he said that it would take way too long for all of us to take the elevator since there were 13 people, and almost 30 suitcases( including carry ons) to get up the stairs. Luckily there was an escalator he said, but when we got to that point, there was an escalator, but it wasn't working, so you can picture 13 missionaries struggling to get up s few flights of stairs, several times, with 50 lb suitcases. Not all that fun. 😥
      After we got onto the plane, we talked, and the fact that this was my first flight came up, and I kept getting mixed "help" from the other missionaries. Sister Lopez Perez, who was sitting next to me was trying to calm down what the other missionaries were trying to do, syke me up scare me a little. The flight itself was alright. Take off was a little bit rough, and it took a minute for the pilot to stabilize. We could tell he was a younger pilot. The plane ride wasn't bad until we started to descend. I ended up losing the Wendy's we had for lunch.
      For the first couple days, we spent them at the mission home. We learned a lot here, from President Wadsworth. We went to the temple, spent time in the stake center learning mission specific rules,  and went to golden corral for dinner. It was a great first few days. 
      It was then where we also received our assignments on where we are serving. Some of the missionaries were going to Wyoming. While others were sent places like Bozeman, Butte, Helena, Missoula, and Great Falls. I was assigned to go to Great Falls. The two wards I am over are the Fairfield and Sunriver wards. The towns include Fairfield, Sunriver, Vaughn, Simms, and a few others I can't remember. Overall we cover about 1000 people. Yeah, there isn't a whole lot for us to do out here. Most of the people are lds, or Lutheran. It is a great area. 
       My company's name is Elder Ritchie. He is only 18. He is from Lubbock Texas, and has been out for about 11 months. It's kind of crazy that my trainer is younger than me, but it's cool. 
      These last few days have been pretty great. We spent a lot of time  either trying to set up appointments with the couple people who we are working with, one of which is on date for baptism, but it may need to be pushed back, because of his smoking addiction. And another is so golden and ready, but his father won't approve of him being baptised. 😢. Other than that, we just work with strengthening the members of the area. 
      This past weekend was stake conference. It was a great time we got to spend the night at the zone leaders apartment. We also had the honor to meet a general authority. Elder Steven A Snow of the seventy. It was really cool to learn a little more about some church history. Afterwards we got ice cream with the Wadsworths. We wanted to get coldstone's, but it was too crowded, so we got McDonald's instead.😭. 
         Today we are headed to go to our zone conference in Missoula. I think It will be a great time. So excited.
        Now to answer a few questions. 1. Sister Rushton loves to play jokes, and when we had dinner at her house, she took a picture of us, and sent it to our(elder ritchie and me) moms, and told them we ate dog. That is false. There was no dog eaten by the missionaries here. 2. Yes, my preparation day in the field is Monday.
     There isn't a whole lot to do here. But I know that there is a reason for us being here. The Lord needs us to help build up his church in Fairfield, and we will do our best to make that happen. It is marvelous, and I'm super excited to see how much I can do to help out. After I learn everybody's names, and don't feel like I'm just tagging along.

Now, my address for this transfer, for any type of postage is: 

309 1st Ave
Fairfield, MT 59436

Elder Sherwood

Now for pictures:

Elder Sherwood with President and Sister Wadsworth
New Arrivals to the Montana Billings Mission on  6-13-2018
MTC district with Brother Arslanian the day before we left
My friend Jordan from BYU-I
My new missionary Facebook profile picture
Elder Ritchie and I on first preparation day
Dinner at Sister Rushton's house (member in Vaughn)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A New Chapter Begins

Well, The MTC experience is almost over. In only a few short hours, we, Elder Allen and I, will get on the bus headed toward the Salt Lake international airport. It's hard to believe that it has already been 3 weeks since I arrived. I am going to miss it here, but I also know that it will be awesome out in the field.  For sake of time, and I mean, I have under an hour to write today, I will just be sending one giant email, Sorry Amy.
    This past week has been pretty crazy for me. It felt like all we ever did was teach. All day long, it was teaching experience, after teaching experience, but I guess that's what it's going to be like in the field, so no complaints. It was a long week of many exciting people and learning.
     One of the greatest parts of the week was the Tuesday night devotional. We had the privilege to hear from a general authority. Guess Who... Elder Gong. It was an amazing feeling from the get go. We had no idea we going to get to hear from one of the quorum of the twelve. You could feel the spirit spike really hard as soon as he came into the room. It was the most outstanding experience of my entire stay here at the MTC. We learned a lot about names, and what and how we should think because we are wearing Christ's name on our chests. 
     This week I was so happy when the new district came in on Wednesday. All their bright and shiny faces really made my day a whole lot happier. We got to meet them Wednesday night like normal, and found out a little bit more about them. I was so happy to hear that 6 new elders were going to come into our little branch/Zone. Priesthood has been so lonely the past few weeks with only 4 people in class, including branch presidency. There were also 6 additional sisters that came into our zone this week. Making our Zone have almost 30 missionaries in it. That was so awesome. But I can't imagine what it will be like in August. There are about 1100 missionaries here now. President Webb says that by August, there will be more like 2700 missionaries going through the MTC. That is crazy. I have no idea where they would fit all those people. 
      I still feel like I am dying on the inside, because my cough just won't go away. We went to the Health Center, and got me some drugs last Tuesday, so I have been on them for about a week, and most of the symptoms are gone, but the cough still lingers. Ugh. 
     By the way, Thank you all for the package. I absolutely loved it. Between the letters from you and the snacks, and most importantly the music. I have loved having these here to work with. I will treasure them always, and will reply personally as soon as I can. I have loved having the letters and prayers from all of you. The music has already played a crucial role in helping me feel the spirit at all times here this past week. I love music, and the ability it has to enlarge the chance for the spirit to enter into our lives. You never know how much you miss good music, until you have to play efy music for 2 weeks straight to study with.
     I'm glad to hear that everyone is doing well, Including the chickens :( . I heard a lot about The Harr's booth at pony express days. I hope it went well. I know that you have put a lot of work into young living. It looks like a well set up event, and great time for you. 
     There has been something on my mind all week, that I feel that you all need to hear. This past week we watched a film by Elder Bednar about called "Recognizing The Spirit" in it he spoke on our need to listen to the spirit. But most of the time people just wait around for a miracleous spiritual prompting to do anything. We most likely won't understand that the spirit is prompting us in the moment. But we just need to act on any feelings we have. That is the only way the spirit will speak to us. We will not get them if we just sit. To quote Elder Bednar, "If your wondering whether or not the spirit is speaking to you, Quite worrying about it. Just get to work." This really impressed me with a combination of another talk we listen to a while ago by Bednar entitled "Character of Christ". (neither of which these talks can be found outside the MTC) In which Bednar challenges the missionaries to search for the book of Mormon from cover to cover, searching for a principle they want to learn more about. So in turn I want to extend that invitation to all of you. ***** Think of a question that you have. Write it down, Then read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover, highlighting EVERY instance of the principle pertaining to the question you have. AND keep a journal of what you learned in each session of reading, and I promise you, that you will find and learn more about that principle than you have ever before. I urge you to involve the spirit by praying for guidance before and after each time time you read, and God will reveal what you need to know. I know, because I have felt this as I have begun to do this asking how I can increase my faith in Christ.***** It is amazing what you will learn when you earnestly study for an answer. I also encourage this for anyone who needs any sort of direction in their lives. It will help a lot.

I love you all,
Elder Sherwood

p.s. Just so you know, I have a plan on doing that challenge That I mentioned in the email my self, pretty often, and I will probably be sending hopefully a Full Book of Mormon and Journal home about every 2-3 months. I'll let you know when, but I may need help getting a new journal for each time through the BOM. Thanks

  And now for more pictures:

Elder Allen, Me, Sister Clark (my cousin) and her companion
Our zone